Friday, October 2, 2020

The Great American Lie Review: A Look At Impediments to the American Dream

Release date: October 2, 2020
Running time: 87 minutes

THE GREAT AMERICAN LIE brings the reality of America’s vast inequality to life through the stories of five people: Ruby De Tie, a public school principal fighting for better opportunities for her disadvantaged students; Saru Jayaraman, a social justice advocate shining a light on
the plight of low-wage women workers; Zachary Norris, a public interest lawyer fighting for criminal justice reform that prioritizes care over punishment; Scott Seitz, a steelworker who knows firsthand the toll of layoffs, economic disillusionment and addiction; and Sharon Galicia, a Southern conservative, single mother who takes us on a journey from disconnection and judgment to connection and empathy. All of these stories reveal ways that gendered values play out in our society, privileging few and oppressing many. These stories are interwoven with expert voices who help give historical, political, and economic context to the story. 

The Great American Lie looks at many different reasons for social inequality, with some poignant examples and scary statistics about what our general economic gap has done.  It looks at the historical context, as well as the gendered and racial underpinnings to a lot of the current policies and the resultant inequality in modern day America.  It does this through some compelling narrative stories and examples from real people dealing with these problems.  Although they are definitely put together for the camera, there is some real raw emotion that occurs when people tell their story and also when they recall what they had to do to overcome where they are.  And the film also looks at a wide range of individuals, from working people, to those who would be considered more privileged, to conservatives, and to liberals.  It does a lot in the limited time it has and covers a lot of ground.

However, the amount of ground it covers is commendable, but I also think it took on too much.  I would have liked this as a limited series focusing on an issue an episodes, rather than a movie that touches on each of these.  There are so many issues to deal with that I would have liked a deeper dive into them.  It also would have helped the movie to suggest some solutions.  There are hints of what can be done to fix the issues highlighted, but it would have helped to have a clearer path and also some more thorough analysis on this.  The film does a good job of showcasing the many problems that have been allowed to fester and grow in our society, and does end with a relatively hopeful message.  But I wish that it had been more focused.  

The Great American Lie uses emotional, human stories to highlight the many issues that have become impediments to everyone realizing the American Dream.

Rent it.

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The Great American Lie will be available in theaters, digitally, and on demand on October 2, 2020.  For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.

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